23 Aug 2014
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SONC Board Approves Il Villaggio Toscano Project

The Il Villaggio Toscano project will next seek approval from Los Angeles City Council.

The Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, by a vote of 7-3, approved the Il Villaggio Toscano residential and retail project at Monday's SONC board meeting.

In its current form, the project, located at the corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and Camarillo Street, incorporates 399 dwelling units and 52,000 square-feet for commercial use, which includes a 13,000-square-foot plaza that will run the length of Sepulveda Boulevard. There will also be 1206 parking spaces.

"This is a long journey," said Paul Krueger on behalf of developer M. David Paul. "We’re happy we got an endorsement from the board but we know this is far from over. We’re excited about moving forward with the project and hopefully, others will appreciate it at the city level."

On April 19, less than a month ago, with four key amendments, which became five on Monday night. Those imposed amendments are:

  • The Haul Route Permit hours shall be from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The developer will be allowed to send up to 20 hauling trucks via the 101 freeway westbound to the Sepulveda offramp and south to Camarillo Street, to stage the trucks on the property between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., Monday through Friday. Said trucks will be allowed to load and exit the property via Camarillo Street to Sepulveda Boulevard north to the 101 freeway onramp eastbound between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. No additional trucks will travel to the site or stage in other nearby areas until after 9:30 a.m. Haul trucks will be allowed to load and travel normal routes between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • The building owner/operators will be responsible for landscaping and future maintenance of the landscaping on the strip of land between Sepulveda Boulevard and Little Sepulveda in the area between Camarillo Street and Moorpark Street in a manner consistent with the landscaping on the Il Villaggio Toscano project site. 
  • The final drawings for the Il Villaggio Toscano project will be brought back to the committee to review and approve for consistency with what has been presented. 
  • The configuration of the project is 399 dwelling units; 52,000-square-feet of commercial; a plaza or 13,000-square-feet; 1206 car parking spaces.
  • No billboards or large signage on the property

In addition to the five imposed amendments, there are 18 additional conditions that the developers have agreed to, including making gardens on the property visible to the public, extra pedestrian entrances into retail areas, and the project's two community rooms are made accessible to local organizations, such as SONC and Sherman Oaks Homeowner's Association.

"We purposely engaged the community, specifically the Neighborhood Council, to make sure we have their support," Krueger said of the additional conditions that aim to benefit the community. "It’s all meaningless unless we have their support."

SONC Land Use Committee chairman Ron Ziff, whose vote in support of the project served as the tiebreaker at April's Land Use Committee meeting, said that he remains in favor of the project, even though a majority of public speakers on hand at Monday's meeting were in opposition.

"I feel there are a lot of positive things for the community moving forward with this project," Ziff said. "I look forward to Sherman Oaks continuing to be one of the nicest places in Southern California to live."

"There are always a certain number of people that are completely for new development and some that are completely against it," he added. "It’s the big group in the middle that you have to be concerned with, and I think that they’re willing to be convinced."

Jill Banks Barad, president of the SONC, chose to abstain during the voting process, as the project had already received seven 'yes' votes as opposed to three 'no' votes. 

Barad commented that she was "very conflicted" regarding the project. 

"I think that there are so many people that are against it and I think it’s very dense," Barad said. "The traffic is only going to get worse and you can’t mitigate that traffic."

"I’ve heard from a lot of people that they just think it’s too big," Barad added. "That’s how people describe it, just too big for that area."

Interestingly enough, new fourth district LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge was on hand for the beginning of Monday's meeting, and when asked about the Il Villaggio Toscano project, stated that he was a proponent of smaller developmental projects.

"I haven’t studied the project yet, but just from looking at it, it looks like a little bit more than I would approve," LaBonge said. "But I’ll study it and eventually, it will be coming to me."

A specific outline of the current project can be seen here.

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